Stephen King Books

I love to read, and Stephen King is one of my favorite authors.  I’ve found that most people who claim they don’t like “Stephen King books” have actually never read a single one.  This is unfortunate because almost all of them are phenomenal pieces of writing.

Stephen King is a generous writer; he gives his “constant reader” a lot more than most authors.  His characters are rich and relatable.  The plots and side-stories and back-stories are usually extensive.  At least for the novels, the good guys almost always win eventually, and the bad guys get their comeuppance.  His short stories and earliest work can be a little brutal, but I’d describe the vast majority of his work as being primarily about . . . relationships.

Below is my list of Stephen King writings that I’ve read and my review of them.  Obviously these are all my opinions; your mileage may vary.

(First published years ago as a Facebook Note to help me remember what I’ve read and haven’t read)

* means I’ve read it
+ through ++++ is my rating (++++ is AWESOME)

* Carrie +++ (A bullying victim gets her revenge. Stephen King once said that he may be the only author who became successful based on sanitary napkins. “PLUG IT UP!”)

* ‘Salem’s Lot +++ (A good vampire story in the tradition of Bram Stoker)

* The Shining ++++ (One of the top 10 things ever written. You should Google Stephen King’s opinion of the movie. After reading that and the book, you may agree that the movie stinks.)

* The Dead Zone ++++ (This is not a horror book; It’s a sad love story that is awesome.)

* Firestarter ++++ (A very good read. You should buy this book.)

* Cujo +++ (He tried to be a good dog. Ultimately this thriller is a tear-jerker, for the dog.)

* Pet Sematary +++ (This is probably King’s scariest novel. “The soil of a man’s heart, Louis, is stonier.”)

* Christine +++ (Excellent story about man-car love. Much better than the movie.)

* The Talisman ++++ (A little boy’s adventure. If you like The Dark Tower, you’ll like this.)

* Cycle of the Werewolf ++ (It’s a graphic novel.)

* IT ++++ (Epic story among the best things ever written. I put it up there with Hamlet and Neverwhere)

* The Eyes of the Dragon ++++ (Young readers, appropriate for 12-year-olds on. Still entertaining for adults)

* Misery +++ (more disturbing than the movie)

* The Tommyknockers +++ (An AA book – Aliens and Alcoholics. If you like those things, you’ll like this.)

* The Dark Half +++ (a Stephen King story about Richard Bachman)

* The Stand: The Complete & Uncut Edition ++ (probably had more impact when it was first published)

* Needful Things +++ (very nice read, but the ending is a little rushed and weak)

* Gerald’s Game ++ (eh, a book about a chick who’s thirsty)

* Dolores Claiborne ++ (A first-person story written in the third person. Ayuh!)

* Insomnia ++ (if you haven’t read The Dark Tower series), ++++ (if you have)

* Rose Madder ++ (another chick book – only makes sense if you’re familiar with The Dark Tower. And even then – eh.)

* Desperation +++ (read this and then read The Regulators – good, brutal stuff)

* Bag of Bones ++++ (A great and satisfying ghost story)

* The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon +++ (Young readers – appropriate for ages 8+. Good read for adults. What would you do?)

* The Green Mile: The Complete Serial Novel +++ (I find it hard to believe I’m saying this, but the movie might actually be slightly better than the books. Regardless, it’s a great story.)

Plant: Zenith Rising, The

* Dreamcatcher +++ (lots of great prose about farting – among the many colorful adjectives is “meaty”)

* Black House +++ (The sequel to The Talisman. 800 pages of goodness if you’ve read that book. And if you like The Dark Tower . . . )

* From A Buick 8 ++++ (Very fun and satisfying read. You should read this book.)

* The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger +++ (Unfortunately ho-hum start to what is a fantastic series. If you can make it through this one, you’ll be rewarded by continuing.)

* The Dark Tower: The Drawing of the Three ++++ (This is when the series starts to get good. Most of the principal characters are introduced.)

* The Dark Tower: The Waste Lands ++++ (Awesome third book in the series.)

* The Dark Tower: Wizard and Glass ++++ (Slow but soulful telling of Roland’s past.)

* The Dark Tower: Wolves of the Calla ++++ (My favorite book of the series! If you haven’t read ‘Salem’s Lot yet, take a moment, read that book and then come back to this one. Someone saved, someone saved, someone saved my life tonight . . .)

* The Dark Tower: Song of Susannah +++ (The weakest book in the series, in my opinion, but it puts the characters into position for the finale.)

* The Dark Tower ++++ (If you’ve made it this far in the series, it really pays off. Ka is a wheel.)

* The Colorado Kid +++ (Stephen King does a crime novel. I have a feeling there are more to come. It’s on the good side of okay.)

* Cell +++ (A zombie story about cell phones. Although not what you might expect. Worth a read.)

* Lisey’s Story ++++ (A dreamy love story – good stuff. Bool!)

* Duma Key ++++ (This is a gateway Stephen King book for people who think they know what Stephen King is about. If you’ve never read Stephen King, read this first.)

* Under the Dome (Don’t read this miserable book. Seriously, it’s awful.)

* 11/22/63 ++++ (Among the top 5 best things ever written. This is a love story that has almost nothing to do with the Kennedy assassination. Truly a masterpiece.)

* Doctor Sleep ++++ (A most excellent sequel to The Shining. This is the grown-up story of Danny and his favorite finger puppet Tony. I actually got a little choked up towards the end.)

* Mr. Mercedes ++++ (Stephen King can write crime fiction. If you like King’s Hard Case Crime stories, you’ll love this. It’s like a longer version of The Colorado Kid and Joyland. As a bonus, this is supposed to be the first of a trilogy.)

* The Dark Tower: The Wind Through the Keyhole ++++ (If you’re a Dark Tower fan, you’ve already read this. Good Stuff that fits in between the 4th and 5th books.)

* Joyland +++ (Here’s another better-than-okay hard case crime novel.)

* Revival ++++ (Tons of fun to read this electrifying revival of the old revival. The one-word title has more meaning than it first may seem.)

* Finders Keepers ++++ (This second story in the Bill Hodges crime/mystery trilogy has a completely different story than the first.)

* End of Watch +++ (Third in the Bill Hodges crime trilogy, it’s pretty good.)

* Sleeping Beauties ++++ (Written with son Owen, I absolutely loved this one. It’s one of the best.)

* The Outsider ++++ (You don’t so much read the book as you glide through the words.  A great story that is expertly written.)

* Blaze +++ (Stephen King (as Richard Bachman) does Of Mice and Men. Well-written but depressing.)

* The Long Walk +++ (an excellent dystopian future written by Richard Bachman – the Hunger Games can suck it!)

* Rage (A Bachman book that King removed from publication. I’ll honor his wishes and not talk about it.)

* The Regulators +++ (Richard Bachman re-does the Stephen King story Desperation. You have to read both books to get the full effect.)

* Roadwork +++ (Depressing, but well-written Richard Bachman)

* The Running Man ++++ (Richard Bachman – not much like the movie (which I like). The book is better.)

* Thinner +++ (Slightly better than the movie, which was also pretty good.)

* Different Seasons ++++ (Some of his best stuff. Read this book of four novellas.)

* Everything’s Eventual ++++ (Super-cool short story horror fiction. Realy good read.)

* Four Past Midnight +++ (Four solid novellas that each could be considered full novels from different writers.)

* Full Dark, No Stars ++ (Four flat, uninteresting stories. Don’t read this book.)

* Hearts in Atlantis +++ (Dark Tower fans will love the novella. Worth a read.)

* Just After Sunset ++ (Passably good short stories. Not that great.)

* Night Shift ++++ (Really good short story horror. This is the classic Stephen King that a lot of people think represents his entire thing.)

* Nightmares & Dreamscapes ++ (eh, not that great short stories)

* Skeleton Crew ++++ (Really good short story horror. This is classic Stephen King. In my opinion this is his best short story work.)

* The Bazaar of Bad Dreams +++ (King’s introduction to each short story is sometimes more interesting than the story itself. Still, there are some real gems here.)

* If it Bleeds +++ (Four intriguing novellas.  From anyone else I would say this is a great book.  From King, however, it’s just pretty good.  The last story is my favorite.)

* Stephen King Goes to the Movies + (Short stories read elsewhere. Cheap repackaging that’s not worth it.)

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